6 Apr 2005

Calls for action in Solomon Islands over growing social problems

7:44 pm on 6 April 2005

The Solomon Islands Government has been called on to take action over soaring teenage pregnancies and other growing social problems.

The outgoing police commissioner, Bill Morrell, says with law and order restored, the impact of social problems has become more apparent.

Mr Morrell says that on a recent visit to Makira province, he was shocked and appalled by the numbers of young girls with babies on their hips.

He says some of these girls have been banished into the bush.

Rose Maebiru, who runs a youth outreach programme for Save the Children, confirms this is happening and says it is a significant problem throughout rural Solomon Islands.

"People say it is culturally a disgrace, like a disgrace to the family and things like that, so that normally happens and so people, especially parents are sending the girls to fend for themselves and the child that they have."

Rose Maebiru says other problems that need to be confronted by Government include the lack of work, prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases.